So here I am writing my first ever blog. J’s been on at me to do this for about ten years now, and with social networking taking over the planet I get a lot of people asking me about things all the time. My mum brought me up right, but I can’t reply to everyone, so I thought this might go someway to addressing that.
As some of you will know, I’ve always had a lot to say for myself. I’m a very honest person by nature and have never shied away from speaking my mind, all too often the appearance of magnanimity is disingenuously wheeled out to cover the boney unfeeling, ugly claws of ego driven ambition. What will become really clear over the coming weeks is that I’m not in this for money or power or fame. I’m writing songs again because it’s really the only thing that makes any real sense to me.
So what the fuck have we been doing huh??? We haven’t released anything, done any interviews, or played even a single note in public since our last gig in Edinburgh over five years ago. We were at our most commercially successful point and we just stopped. No fanfare, no big announcement, nothing. But we didn’t split up no no no no. The truth behind that is for a future blog, but what I want to say here is that for the last three years we’ve been working our arses off in the studio and for the first time ever… For the first time ever in all my fucking life I am really really enjoying the recording process and this is a very very good thing.
The first album “The Good Will Out” is still the hardest thing that I’ve have ever had to do. And when I was younger I had post traumatic stress disorder for three years so I know what it feels like to really suffer. There’s a whole story about that and about why TGWO was so difficult (again future blogs) but let’s just say for now that no making great albums is not Afghanistan, but it is very hard.
In the past how difficult an album is to make seems to have been in direct proportion to how good it ends up being. I reckon by our own standards we have done a couple of great albums. The Good Will Out and Out Of Nothing, and they were both by far the hardest.
So now I’m enjoying it does that mean the new album’s not going to be any good?
Well no… and I’ll tell you why.
I’m enjoying it because for the first time I’ve accepted that making a great album isn’t easy, in fact I’ll go further and say that if it’s going to be the best then it’s probably going to have to be the hardest and we have to take our time. Again the first and fourth albums were the longest journeys.
But it’s hard for all the right reasons, not because we’ve got rich and bloated and all live on islands with crack habits. No it’s because writing great songs is really really difficult and most who are lucky enough to manage it find it almost impossible to keep up. You would think experience would make you better but it doesn’t. As you write more and more songs a number of things happen. First of these is that you start to get so familiar with the instrument that you are writing on that it stops surprising you, which in turn means you stop feeling inspired. Secondly as your backlog of unused ideas builds up you can start to let the good get in the way of the great. For the first album we had probably 15 good songs to pick from, for the fourth album we had about 400. 390 of them were just good, and good just isn’t good enough. Thirdly when your last album did really well and everyone wants you to do it again and quick, you can start putting time pressure on yourself which is hardly ever good.
To our credit we’ve only fallen for that once and we felt so bad about it that we haven’t played a note or said a word in public for five years. We stopped the runaway train that was speeding out of control and now here we are back to doing what we feel sets us apart again, the thing that’s kept us going all this time.
And we’ve gotten a lot lot better.
Noticeably so. The time away has meant we’ve had time to evolve. We’ve worked with some amazing people over the years and all their experience has rubbed off on us. If you look on the sleeves it only tells half the story. We’ve worked with pretty much everybody over the years. And the five of us have been together with exactly the same line up since the start and we are closer now than ever. There’s a chemistry between us that I never really saw before. The people who work with us, the record companies and producers always used to go on about it, about how we are a gang a real band in the truest sense of the word… but when you’re a part of it it’s hard to see. It’s a bit like when you’re a kid growing up and some aunt you haven’t seen for a while says wow haven’t you grown, but you don’t really notice as you see yourself everyday. Well being away from it has enabled us to see it for the first time, and to use it. On a practical level this means that in the studio I shut the fuck up a lot of the time. I’m good on the seeds and the soul, but when it come to the way things end up Richard Mac is king.
Like I said at the start I’m not motivated by money, fame or power but what I do want is for all the work, all the belief, all the promises we’ve made over the last 15 years to finally be met with the most blindingly unquestionable piece of work we’ve ever created. We’ve been written off as a band so many times our obituary is becoming dog-eared. Well put it away again. The five of us are in the process of making our best album… A watershed. A landmark album of fearless melody and fearless music.
When will it be out…. WHEN IT’S READY!!!!
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